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Candidates running for northeast Iowa U.S. House seat talk inflation, gas prices
Ashley Hinson campaigns in Robins; Liz Mathis stops in Mount Vernon
Candidates running for northeast Iowa’s U.S. House seat spent Thursday rallying supporters to help get out the vote and laying out their plans to lower prices for Iowa families.
Democratic state Sen. Liz Mathis of Hiawatha stopped at a coffee shop in Mount Vernon to rally about 30 supporters to help phone, door-knock and encourage Democratic and independent voters to take advantage of early voting and to return absentee ballots.
“What do I want to do when I go to Washington? I want to lower your costs,” Mathis said of gas and grocery prices.
Mathis is running to unseat Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson of Marion, who is seeking a second term in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District.
The newly drawn district consists of 22 counties in Iowa's northeast corner, and includes Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Dubuque and Mason City.
Mathis said an executive order issued by Democratic President Joe Biden this summer permitting the year-round sale of E15 fuel is keeping some prices lower, but that the United States needs to increase domestic production, “stand up to OPEC” and “release oil from the reserves.”
“We have to lift up the supply chain. We have to make sure we unclog the ports,” Mathis said. “We have to make sure we have truck drivers, right, behind that Walmart truck and that Amazon truck.”
She said Social Security and Medicare need to be preserved and decried a proposal from Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Scott of Florida that would force Congress to reauthorize federal government programs every five years, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and veterans' benefits. Mathis said doing so would put the vital social safety net programs in peril.
Mathis, too, said if elected she would work to codify abortion rights in federal law established under Roe v. Wade. The landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision was overturned in June by the court.
“I am going to protect your health care,” Mathis said. “I am going to make sure that you make those health care decisions yourself.”
Hinson in Robins
Hinson continued to hammer Biden and Democrats in Congress, blaming them for high inflation and high gas prices.
The Marion Republican stopped at Otter Creek Country Store in Robins early Thursday, where she gave brief remarks, took questions from a group of about 20 people and spoke to drivers filling up their vehicles during their morning commute.
The quickest way to reduce inflation, Hinson said, is to reduce energy costs with an “all-of-the-above energy strategy” that prioritizes Iowa biofuels to help restore American energy independence and lower costs.
“People will have a choice whether they want someone who is going to focus on an all-of-the-above energy strategy, which is what we need, or someone who is going to rubber stamp … the Biden-Pelosi agenda,” Hinson said.
She said she has called on the administration to issue a new five-year offshore drilling plan, and she continued to criticize Biden's decision to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
“So if you’re not going to be drilling on federal land, we certainly shouldn’t be dipping into our strategic reserves,” Hinson said. “And I have introduced policies to counter that.”
Cedar Rapids certified nursing assistant Destinee Perkins, who spoke with Hinson as she filled up her vehicle Thursday, said she has had to pick up extra shifts in the Mercy Medical Center’s emergency department to afford the increased costs of gas, groceries and other costs.
Perkins said she’s also cut back on “minor expenses,” such as subscriptions to streaming services and “activities for my son.”
“It’s affecting people deeply,” Perkins said of inflation and gas prices.
Perkins, who said she has yet to change her voter registration from Kansas to Iowa, said she hasn’t made up her mind who she will vote for in the 2nd District race.
Iowa gas prices fell roughly 7 cents in the last week to an average price of roughly $3.55 per gallon, but was 38 cents per gallon higher compared to a year ago, according to AAA.
The U.S. economy bounced back last quarter, growing at an adjusted rate of 2.6 percent, after shrinking in the first half of the year.
Stronger exports and steady consumer spending, backed by a healthy job market, helped snap two straight quarters of economic contraction and overcoming punishingly high inflation and interest rates, according to initial estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Spending packages passed by Congress also include hundreds of millions in pandemic support for biofuel producers in the Iowa and Midwest, “allowing them to ramp up production faster as demand began to rise again,” according to the White House.
The Biden administration said it plans to restock the oil reserves as soon as oil prices fall between $67 and $72 per barrel. U.S. crude prices stood around $89 per barrel Thursday. The White House has said tapping reserves will give oil companies a floor so that they can take steps to boost domestic production now, and ensure there's enough oil on the market to prevent gasoline prices from spiking.
An analysis from the U.S. Department of Treasury released this summer suggests the President’s release of oil earlier this year lowered the price of gasoline by 17 cents to 42 cents per gallon.
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